An August vote for a Miami MLS stadium at Melreese golf course is looking unlikely, meaning that any measure might be pushed to a packed November ballot.
In January, MLS announced plans for a Miami expansion club that will be backed by an ownership group headlined by David Beckham. Along with Beckham, the club’s ownership includes prominent local businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas, American Idol founder Simon Fuller, SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.
An issue for the group in recent months has been the site of a new stadium, as alternatives to a nine-acre site in Overtown have been discussed. While the Overtown site has not been completely ruled out, reports have indicated that the group is broadening its vision for the overall stadium project to include adjacent development, meaning that it could outgrow the Overtown location. One alternative that has been floated is the city-owned Melreese golf course, which is located near Miami International Airport.
Should Melreese emerge as an option, city officials would want any agreement to be subject to voter approval. It was previously anticipated that such a measure could be placed on the August ballot, but Beckham and his group have not submitted plans for the Melreese site. City officials indicate that time is running out to have a question on the August ballot, citing the time needed to vet a proposal. The earliest option would then be the November ballot, a far more crowded ballot that already includes several major referendums. More from the Miami Herald:
Miami City Manager Emilio Gonzalez told the Miami Herald he had not received a proposal from the Beckham team as of Tuesday, more than two months after Beckham and partner Jorge Mas met with him and Mayor Francis Suarez to discuss redeveloping part of Melreese golf course into a large soccer complex with a youth academy, retail, office space and park land.
Gonzalez said he does not want to rush any proposal through an administrative review and put it before the City Commission, which would have to approve the proposal at its May 24 meeting — the last meeting before the county’s June 8 deadline for cities to submit questions for the August ballot.
“At this point, I don’t see that happening,” Gonzalez said. “It would have to be in November.”
November’s ballot could be crowded with other questions on large-scale redevelopments of public land in Miami, including two high-profile waterfront projects : A residential, hotel and riverside park plan being pursued by Hyatt Hotels for the site of the Downtown Hyatt Regency and Knight Center near the mouth of the Miami River, and a deal with the Adler Group to build a similar two-tower project where the city’s waterfront administration building stands in exchange for a new government building elsewhere.
It is still unclear at this point what option Beckham and his group will choose for a new stadium site. As noted, Overtown has not been completely ruled out, while the group has also been linked to a site in suburban Doral that is currently used for a Pepsi distribution center.
As for Overtown, a vote last June by Miami-Dade County commissioners allowed the county to proceed with a sale of a three-acre parcel needed to complete the site. Hurdles remain, however, including approval from the City of Miami over certain aspects of the proposal.
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